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I'll get to my annual Pope's Nose Awards in a moment.
First up, our own Chicago Bears are in the hunt for QB help. After Jay Cutler got injured last week, it looked like we were set to pick up the Legend of Caleb Hanie where we left off last postseason, when he almost won the NFC Championship Game. However, as of Tuesday night, it looked like the Bears were going to add
just-released Kyle Orton Josh McCown to the mix.
It wasn't clear as of this writing who the Bears plan on starting for the next four to five weeks, but in terms of fantasy value, neither Hanie nor McCown
Orton has all that much to offer.
The Bears play a string of not terribly threatening opponents the next four to five games, and I think they'll win most of them no matter who starts, but if you were starting Cutler on your fantasy team, you probably have better options than following the Bears' depth chart.
Hanie can pass on the scramble, and he can run forward when necessary, but we shouldn't call him "Big Play" Hanie, any more than we should call him Caleb Tebow. The Bears likely will be playing things conservatively on offense until they have their backs to the wall.
I'm going to predict his weekly average through the next five weeks to be something like 130 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT, 35 yards rushing - assuming he starts.
Orton, besides being a little rusty at this point after being benched in favor of Tim Tebow, would not be coming back to the same offense or the same Bears receiving corps that was here when he was traded for Cutler (with the exception of Earl Bennett, who wasn't really used in the Orton era, and Devin Hester, who appears to be a dedicated return man again).
And while Tebow may have been swept into the Denver starting job by fan vote, Orton was having probably the worst season of his career before Tebow took over.
If there's one Bear whose fantasy value goes up regardless of who the QB is, it might be Marion Barber, who was already getting goal-line touches and should now take on a somewhat bigger role in the offense, especially if Matt Forte continues his recent lackluster stretch.
Pope's Nose Awards
Remember, this is the part of the turkey you want to avoid eating.
There have been so many off-putting fantasy performances this year that I'm just going to compile lists by position instead of just picking one big turkey at each:
QB Philip Rivers, San Diego: 17 INTs leads the league.
QB Josh Freeman, Tampa: Super-sleeper draft pick has been asleep all season.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo: Went from a top 3 QB in the first quarter of the season to almost worthless now.
QB Mark Sanchez, NY Jets: Maturity was expected this year, but fumbles and other mistakes have been the story.
QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia: Dream team? Newbie Andy Dalton, Cincinnati, has more passing yards and TDs than Vick, and now he's injured.
RB Peyton Hillis, Cleveland: Last year's darling has fallen from his pedestal.
RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee: Trying for a second-half rebound, but his first half was worse than anyone would have imagined.
RB DeAngelo Williams, Carolina: Was expected to carry a poor team with a rookie QB, but Cam Newton refused to comply.
RB Ryan Grant, Green Bay: Expected starter was gradually demoted to back-up, which is worthless on a pass-first team.
RB Joseph Addai, Indianapolis: Derailed by injuries once again - and when the Colts otherwise would have relied on him.
RB Felix Jones, Dallas: Looked to have the backfield to himself with Barber gone, but a so-so numbers and an injury have let DeMarco Murray take the spotlight.
WR Andre Johnson, Houston: Injuries are getting to be a problem, and now his QB is done for the year. No longer the the top WR.
WR Mike Williams, Tampa: Was supposed to star along with his QB, but both have been in hiding all year.
WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia: Another victim of the Dream Team deflation, Jackson also ended up in the coach's doghouse.
WR Roddy White, Atlanta: Most consistent pass-catcher of recent years did little until Week 11. Can he rebound?
TE Antonio Gates, San Diego: Rivers' troubles have left him underfed.
TE Mercedes Lewis, Jacksonville: Vet had a great 2010, but has virtually disappeared in an offense now run by rookie Blaine Gabbert.
* Yahoo! Pickups of the Week likes Vince Young in place of Vick, even after three INTs last week.
* SBNation says Cam Newton is back to throwing picks, but at least he's still running.
* Bleacher Report sees Matt Moore of Miami and Tyler Palko of Kansas City, as potential replacements for Cutler. I much prefer guys like Tebow, Christian Ponder or Carson Palmer.
* Fantasy Knuckleheads weighs whether Lions RB Kevin Smith has another big week in him.
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